I am 39 next month and just saw an orthopedic doctor last week due to my back "freezing" up a couple of weeks ago. I was stuck in a bent posture for about 3 days and then developed pain.
After a physical examination, where he found some decreased sensation in my left leg and decreased strength in my left greater toe, he sent my for x-ray. I have complete fractures in the pars articularis on both sides at L4 and the vertebral body has become a spondylolisthesis (maybe grade 1?). The foramen are significantly reduced and the disc has herniated posteriorly. I am having 0-4/10 pain all the time (can sleep OK), with bouts of 6-7/10 pain around mid-day to evening. As if this was not bad enough, my right knee has been feeling a little weak at times (I was limping a little when walking for about 2 weeks before my back locked up.
I am barley "managing" the pain with over the counter medicine because I need to stay clear for work. I am giving serious thought to surgical intervention if things continue this way (the drive home from work is very uncomfortable).
I would welcome any advice offered! I am athletic and in good physical condition. I think my back strength might be the only thing holding me together right now. The doctor said that L4 is worse for this kind of condition than L5. How long can you compress nerves before you get permanent damage?